Darien scorches Wilton, 13-3, in state title game
The more the Wilton Warriors wanted to prove their biggest win wasn’t a fluke, the more the team they’d beaten noticed.
A motivated Darien boys lacrosse team is a frightening thing. The Blue Wave proved it from the start Saturday at Jack Casagrande Field, beating Wilton, 13-3, in the Class L final to win their 14th state title since 1997.
Wilton wound up dealing Darien (17-5) its only loss to a CIAC team this season with a 4-3 victory on May 21 in the FCIAC semifinals. The fifth-seeded Blue Wave got their revenge on the same field and on the biggest stage.
“It was tough sitting at home on Thursday (for the FCIAC final) for the first time in my career. I’ve been there every other year,” Darien senior attackman Hudson Pokorny said.
“Them running all the way through the other side of the bracket saying they were trying to prove it wasn’t a fluke made it a little more personal.”
Pokorny set up Michael Minicus 43 seconds into the game. The Blue Wave led 4-0 after one quarter and 8-0 late in the second.
“There was a bit of nerves that, like, ‘Wilton won,’ but this is what we wanted. We wanted a rematch. They were saying the Darien game wasn’t a fluke,” Blue Wave junior defender Sam Cragin said.
“We’d seen the Instagram posts. Every win, they’d throw their helmet off, throw their (stuff) over there. We were like, no, that’s not how we roll. We wanted to show them what really winning a title looks like. We set out and did that, which was awesome.”
It was 9-2 at halftime, 13-2 after three.
“When this (Darien) team gets on a roll, they’re very difficult,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “The team speed and the depth ... we used a lot of bodies. It was a hot day (in the 80s and sunny). I think we wore them down.”
In that FCIAC semifinal, the 19th-seeded Warriors stifled Darien’s offense and slowed the Blue Wave in transition. Some adjustments turned that around Saturday.
“We got a little out of sorts on defense,” Wilton coach Steve Pearsall said. “Offensively, they were hamstringing us. We were having trouble finding the open guy and possessing the ball, which was obviously the plan, to slow it down.
“They’re a great transition team,” Pearsall added. “That’s how they jump on teams. We didn’t do a good job slowing them down.”
Pokorny made big plays and led Darien with three goals and two assists, but there was no shortage of contributors.
“Sam Wilson, stepping up, playing short-stick (defensive) middie) for our injured captain, Bruce Ferguson,” Brameier said. “He played a phenomenal game. He played a phenomenal game against Staples (in the semifinals).”
Despite the loss, Pearsall — in his first season as Wilton's head coach after serving as an assistant — was proud of how far his team went following losses in seven of its first eight games.
“I can’t say enough about this group of kids,” said Pearsall, whose 19th-seeded Warriors became the lowest seed ever to make a state final. “I’m so proud of the way they battled … at 1-7, the kids did not really waver. That’s when I knew I had something special with this group.”
Notes: A brilliant goal from Wilson made it 5-0: Knocked down in front of the net, he shot and scored as he was about to hit the ground.
Darien has now played in six straight state finals and won five of them. The only setback came to Ridgefield in last year's Class L title game — a loss that ended the Blue Wave's 76-game winning streak.